The University of New Mexico Lobo Women’s Soccer (2-0) is kicking off its 3-match homestand at UNM Soccer Complex this evening by hosting the Aggies of Utah State (0-2).
By Chris Walker | Photo: UNM Lobos
It’s their third match of this condensed Mountain West Conference-only play. The Aggies enter this match having lost to both Colorado State and Wyoming. Both teams the Lobos have defeated.
The last time the Lobos stepped foot into the pitch at the Complex, Junior Forward Jadyn Edwards went full tilt scoring 3-straight goals (hat trick) and dealing an assist against San Diego State in a 6-0 victory to end the regular season. That was November 1, 2019.
There were no live sports played in the state of New Mexico in 2020 once the pandemic set in. Emotions will be riding high for the Lobos and Technical Staff who get to play on their home pitch with fans in attendance.
Lobos’ Last Time Out
Unbeaten through two matches, the Lobos will be poised to preserve their win streak when they battle for 90 minutes against the Aggies. The Lobos have put up 5 goals through two matches and have only allowed 1 goal against them. They have taken 37 shots as a team with 29 collectively coming from Redshirt Senior Forward Gwen Maly (9), Junior Forward Alesia Garcia (7), Junior Forward Edwards (7), and Senior Forward Leilani Baker (6).
The Lobos’ form through two matches has been rough. It has been the difference between night and day to tweak things. Usually, the preseason matches have provided the team the ability to find their rhythm for their MWC season. The Lobos managed to answer a 0-1 deficit to Colorado State with 4 unanswered goals and then get out on the front foot against Wyoming 1-0 and come away with the clean sheet.
Lobos Impact Players:
Maly leads the team with 5 points (2 goals, 1 assist)
Baker has 6 shots, 1 goal
Garcia has 7 shots, 1 goal
Edwards has 7 shots, 1 assist
Senior Goalkeeper Emily Johnson has a save percentage of .875 and a goals-against-average of 1.00.
Sophomore Goalkeeper Malia Vanisi did not face any shots to make any saves in the last game.
Head Coach Heather Dyche spoke with Seek & Strike Collective earlier this week about the Lobos’ performance so far heading into this match against Utah State.
“We went into the Spring having never seen our Freshman (class) playing contact here. It’s that fresh and probably in some ways that unfair to a lot of the players because they haven’t had a chance to earn their spot and show you what they can do,” Dyche said
“You can look at it one of two ways, you can complain about it and say we’re behind the eight ball and all these different things and we are there’s no doubt about it. Or you can just realize that the game we love has been taken away from us for a year. Who cares about the small stuff like just go enjoy it and I think that’s where we’re at,” Dyche added.
“We’re going to have some horrendous moments of soccer like we did this last weekend. We’re going to have some really good moments because we’re talented. So you can’t let the highs be too high and the lows are too low. Just be grateful we get to do it again. That is the overriding feeling amongst the group right now for sure,” Dyche finished.
“I thought our Colorado State game we were very good from the beginning, but then we kind of hit a lull, and I put in our, we call them our game-changers, not subs and those kids did exactly that. They came in and the game got better. I’m like holy moly we are talented,” Dyche commented.
Maly, named Mountain West Offensive Player of the Week recently, is one of the players Head Coach Heather Dyche refers to as a game-changer. She came into the match against Colorado State with the Lobos down 0-1 after 35 minutes and managed to score the equalizer, as well as, assist what would be the game-winning goal netted by Senior Midfielder Madi Hirschman. Maly scored the game-winner against Wyoming.
The Other Half of Centre
Utah State enters the match starting 0-2 for the first time since the 2018 season. A loss on Saturday would mark the first time the Aggies have started 0-3 since the 2000 season.
Utah State has four players that have stayed on the pitch for every minute this season, including defenders Kristin Rhees and Kelsey Steed, midfielder Ashley Cardozo and goalkeeper Diera Walton.
Utah State Impact Players:
Junior Forward Jordan Foraker scored the Aggies’ first goal of the season in the 11th minute against Colorado State last Sunday.
Senior Midfielder Cardozo, a three-time all-Mountain West selection. She needs two more assists to tie the all-time record in Utah State history, having totaled 17 throughout her career.
Sophomore Goalkeeper Walton, a member of the 2019 MW all-Newcomer team. During her freshman season, she recorded 88 saves, the third-most in a single season in Utah State history allowing only 17 goals on 232 shots for a save percentage of .838.
Utah State Aggies (0-2) vs. UNM Lobos (2-0) Kickoff at 6:30 pm at UNM Soccer Complex. Masks required and Social Distancing in effect. Livestream: golobos.com/watch